People/Biz

Purnell returns to BBC as strategy and digital director

Former British culture minister James Purnell (pictured) will rejoin the British pubcaster as part of a series of senior management appointments made by incoming director-general Tony Hall, ahead of his arrival on April 2.
February 14, 2013

Former British culture minister James Purnell (pictured) is returning to UK pubcaster the BBC in the new role of director of strategy and digital.

Purnell, who was the BBC’s head of corporate planning in the 1990s, is joining the Corporation as part of a series of senior management appointments made by incoming director-general Tony Hall, ahead of his arrival on April 2.

“I am building a senior team that will define the BBC and public service broadcasting for the next decade,” Hall said in a statement. “It will be a team that is made up of outstanding talent from outside the BBC combined with the best people from within. There will be more changes over the coming months and there is a lot of hard work ahead, but today’s appointments are the first steps in delivering that vision.”

He is also expanded acting director-general Tim Davie’s role at BBC Worldwide as CEO and director of global to include overseeing the BBC’s international brand and editorial strategy.

Purnell, who will take up the post on March 20 and earn £295,000 (US $457,000), is currently a senior producer at London prodco Rare Day and an adviser to Boston Consulting Group. He is a former secretary of state for culture for Britain’s Labour Party and is on the board of the British Film Institute and the Royal National Theatre.

In his new role, he will lead overall strategy and run the company’s policy and strategy, digital, public affairs and communications, and marketing and audiences divisions.

“Over the last couple of years, producing and developing programs has rekindled my passion for the career I had before politics,” said Purnell. “I feel very lucky to have the chance to return to the BBC at such an important time.”

Hall also appointed Helen Boaden as director of BBC Radio (formerly director of audio and music). She is currently the director of BBC News and a former controller for BBC Radio 4.

The BBC is now beginning the process of hiring a new director of BBC News and a director of BBC Television.

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